A recent post from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has helped clear up some of the myths and confusion surrounding the sale of gift cards. These rules all came into effect on 1 November 2019.
Just in time for Christmas!
If your small business is offering gift cards as an option to your customers, there are a few simple rules to follow:
Gift Card Expiry Date:
All gift cards sold must be redeemable for at least three years after the date of purchase. The expiry date on the gift card must be displayed predominately as either the full date, or as a period of time. Should you choose to display the expiry as a period of time, it should also include the date the gift card was supplied to the customer so as to determine the expiration date. For example: ‘Gift cards expire 4 years from the issue date. Date of issue: 12/12/19.’
There are a few instances where this requirement does not apply. These can be found on the ACCC website.
No Post-Supply Fees on Gift Cards:
Post-supply fees cannot be charged for the use of any gift cards you supply. A post-supply fee is a fee or charge that the gift card recipient must pay in relation to a gift card after it has been supplied. Further to this, you must ensure that you do not have terms and conditions on the use of your gift cards allowing you to charge post-supply fees.
There are some charges that are not considered post-supply fees. These include:
- booking fees, where those booking fees are the same, or substantially the same, as fees or charges for making a booking using a payment method other than a gift card
- the fees associated with exchanging currencies
- relating to the reissue of a gift card that has been lost, stolen or damaged
- payment surcharges.
The post-supply fees requirements do not apply to gift cards that are supplied as a second-hand good or to gift cards supplied to certain charities and government agencies.
Changes to the Gift Card Supplier
If you have taken over as owner of a new business, it is your responsibility to honour any existing gift cards if the business was:
- sold as a ‘going concern’, that is, the assets and liabilities of the business were sold by the previous owner to the new owner
- owned by a company rather than an individual, and the new owner purchased the shares in the company.
There are hefty penalties attached to breaching these new gift card rules. To view them in full, visit the ACCC Fines and Penalties page.
To avoid these, simply follow these basic rules and ensure you’re covered this Christmas period.